The legislature in California has passed a $214.8 billion budget and it is now set to appear on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The budget includes funds to give taxpayer-funded health insurance to some low-income illegal immigrants. It also authorizes a total of $2.4 billion in spending to address the state’s housing and homelessness crisis.
While President Trump’s administration continues to crack down on illegal immigration, the California state budget passed Thursday would make it the first state to give some illegal immigrants government-funded health insurance.
Health care for this segment of the population is part of Democrats’ plan to eventually get everyone in California covered by health insurance.
The legislation has angered Republican lawmakers who believe it’s not fair to tax people who are in the country legally for not buying health insurance while making people living in the country illegally eligible for taxpayer-funded coverage.
“I just don’t get the prioritization,” Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa said just before the vote. He said he legally immigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1960.
Low-income illegal immigrants from the age of 19 to 25 would get government-funded health insurance. It would cost an estimated $98 million to cover about 90,000 people.
Families of four earning up to $150,500 a year would get help paying monthly health insurance premiums.
And people who refuse to buy health insurance would have to pay a tax.
The budget would also spend $17.1 million to aid people on Medi-Cal access vision, hearing, incontinence creams and washes, podiatry and speech therapy.
The state would give $650 million to local governments to address homelessness and give $500 million into a tax credit program to create construction of residential rental units.
Lawmakers would spend $5 million on grants to homeless shelters so they can accommodate pets.
The Governor is expected to sign off on the budget in the coming days. He has 12 days to review the bill and is likely to sign it.
This is the first spending plan under Newsom, who took office in January. He has become a significant resister to the president.
The Trump administration has tried to weaken former President Barack Obama’s health care law by eliminating a tax on people who refuse to purchase private health insurance.
“What a luxury we have, to get to stand here and argue over where we should put our savings, how we should spend some of the additional money we have to support struggling Californians,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat.
Atkins referred to this new legislation as the best state budget in 20 years.
The huge bill, totaling more than 900 pages, divides tax dollars in the nation’s most populous state. Lawmakers must still pass more than a dozen other trailer bills to get it implemented.
Credit: Fox News